SOFT PLAY, a group exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Melissa Dadourian, Olivia Baldwin, Sidney Mullis, and Kelsey Tynik, presented by Collar Works, is currently on view through December 11, 2022.
Using textiles, dye, pigments, sand, and more, the artists chase texture, tactility and movement to learn from spontaneity, flexibility, and uncertainty. Together, they seek a joyful exploration that comes free of shame, guilt, and predetermined expectations.
Melissa Dadourian uses knit and dyed fabric to create abstractions. Her work disrupts traditional assumptions to intentionally create spaces with flexible boundaries. Olivia Baldwin creates paintings that are double-sided and three-dimensional. Evoking slipcovers, hides, and garments, they contain infinite configurations that are reciprocal, unprecious, and evolving. Sidney Mullis is building a make-believe forest out of handmade paper pulp, gravestone dust, sand, and more. She jumps from process to process never seeking mastery, but pleasure, joy, and surprise. It is as wonderful as it is terrifying (similar to being a kid, really). Kelsey Tynik’s work begins in her sketchbook with automatic drawings. They become life-sized flat shapes that are cut, sewn, stuffed, and painted. Moving between materials, she sews up any loose ends to strike a balance between silly and strange.”
Collar Works is a non-profit art space located at 621 River St. in Troy, NY, dedicated to supporting emerging and underrepresented artists working in any media, and exhibiting challenging and culturally relevant contemporary artworks. Expanding the current art vernacular in New York’s capital region, Collar Works provides a venue for community dialogue focused on serious, provocative, and spirited artworks.
Olivia Baldwin is a visual artist whose practice interweaves painting, drawing, and sculpture. Using canvas, acrylic, wire, and thread, Baldwin builds colorful, organic, three-dimensional paintings. These flexible, double-sided forms lend themselves to infinite configurations, much like the convertible dresses Baldwin coveted as a teen. Punctuated by wire contours, the forms live between slipcovers, garments, and hides. Her work has appeared in exhibitions in Austria, Italy, and throughout the United States, including Zürcher Gallery, A.I.R. Gallery, Boston University, Miami University, and Jane Lombard Gallery. As an extension of her studio practice, Baldwin has organized and curated numerous multidisciplinary projects and exhibitions in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Baldwin's work has been supported by residencies, fellowships, and grants from Assets for Artists (MASS MoCA), Ox-Bow, Vermont Studio Center, the Wood/Raith Living Trust, Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, and the University of Connecticut, among others. She received her MFA from the University of Connecticut and her BFA in painting and BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. She lives in Providence, RI, and teaches painting and drawing at Babson College.
Melissa Dadourian is a Brooklyn and Hudson Valley based artist working in textile media, painting and sculpture. Her wall collages and site-specific installations are depictions of geometric abstractions. Associations range in form, pattern, and color and use various materials including burlap, old curtains, paint and yarn. She embraces the world of textiles, however locates herself within the cannon of abstract painting and the supports/surfaces movement. With a focus on the tension that is created in the intersection of painting, object making, and immersive installation. Dadourian has exhibited internationally including New York, Chicago, Connecticut, Texas, Armenia, and Brazil. Recently she created an 8,000 square foot mural for Manhattan Park Pool on Roosevelt Island and has been included in exhibitions at the Dorsky Museum, MoCA Westport, JEFF Marfa, ACCEA/Yerevan, Armenia, Albany Airport, University of Buffalo, and Transmitter Gallery in Brooklyn among others. She received a BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Hunter College and has been awarded residencies and fellowships at MASS MoCA, Vermont Studio Center, Hewnoaks, Textile Arts Center, American Academy in Rome and Citè Internationale des Artes in Paris.
Sidney Mullis is a sculptor living and working in Pittsburgh, PA. She is building a make-believe forest to find where childhood selves go in adulthood and if it is possible to bring them back. Using paper pulp made from kid’s construction paper and gravestone dust, playground sand, fabric dye, and more, Mullis creates this invented landscape to resurrect childlike attitudes, imagination, and logic. Mullis has exhibited in a number of locations including Berlin, Tokyo, England, and Croatia. Solo shows include the Leslie Lohman Museum (NYC), Wick Gallery (NYC), Bunker Projects (PA), Neon Heater Gallery (OH), Bucknell University (PA), Rowan University (NJ), University of Mary Washington (VA), and more. She has been an artist-in-residence at The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, The Wassaic Project, Women’s Studio Workshop, MASS MoCA, Ox-Bow School of Art, among others. Her work has been featured in publications such as Hyperallergic, Young Space, Maake Magazine, De:Formal, and Sculpture Magazine. Mullis is currently a tutor for children struggling with dyslexia and an art fabricator for blue-chip artists.
Kelsey Tynik is an interdisciplinary sculptor working in Storrs, CT. She believes that as children, we are encouraged to play, explore, and fail. As adults that encouragement declines. Instead, we are encouraged to keep busy, interact less, and cast off our fantasy worlds. Her work investigates glee and sentimentality realized through material, technique, and play. The work allows the adolescent in us to thrive. It provides fantasy without shame or guilt, and allows us to engage with the present. The exchange between the viewer and the work removes the adult preoccupation with the daily grind and provides a space for make-believe. Her work offers a chance for repressed play to overflow and, in turn, gives the opportunity for unification of humanity through experience. Tynik has exhibited in New York, Connecticut, Arkansas, Texas, and California. She most recently exhibited at Hesse Flatow (NY), Ely Center of Contemporary Art (CT), and JEFF (TX). She has been an artist-in-residence at Mass MoCA, Arts, Letters, and Numbers, and ChaNorth. She is entering her final year of graduate school at The University of Connecticut. Her work has been featured in Hyperallergic, Artforum, create! Magazine, The Coastal Post, and I Like Your Work.